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Tracy Letts Defends Greta Gerwig Against Sexist Attacks on ‘Lady Bird’

Greta Gerwig Tracy Letts Variety New
Gerwig: Rex/Shutterstock

For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Tracy Letts to write a tribute to Greta Gerwig, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Gerwig, who makes her directorial debut with “Lady Bird,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.

The New York/New Jersey Issue
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If “Lady Bird” is a good film, and I think it is, it’s because Greta wrote an excellent screenplay. She communicated expertly with her actors, she handled the technical aspects with aplomb, she fostered a healthy creative environment on the set, and none of that matters a jot without her very fine and funny and personal piece of writing.

I hope she gets credit for it. I’ve already seen the inclination of some, even when they like the film, to dismiss her writing because it is “autobiography.” First of all, it’s simply not autobiography. Lady Bird’s story is very different from Greta’s in many particulars. And second, why would anyone believe writing a script with autobiographical elements is easier than spinning a fiction from whole cloth? (Because Greta’s a woman? Therefore there must be some other explanation why the writing is good?) Greta created a world on the page. There is nothing easy about that. Writers, take note of Greta Gerwig. She is good at her craft. I learned a lot working with her.

Iveta Karpathyova for Variety

Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter and actor. Read the rest of our New Power of New York list.